In this essay, I will contrast and compare the two art movements, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism.
I will be concentrating on the works of the two leading artists of these styles Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
The impressionist movement is often considered to mark the beginning of the modern period of art. It was developed in France during the late 19th century. The impressionist movement arose out of dissatisfaction with the classical, dull subjects and clean cut precise techniques of painting. They preferred to paint outdoors concentrating more on landscapes and street scenes, and began to paint ordinary everyday people and liked to show the effects in natural light.
Claude Monet is often considered one of greatest most dedicated of the Impressionist painters. His aim was to catch the light and atmosphere, something that was scarcely done before. He enjoyed painting outdoors and developed a free and spontaneous painting technique. His brushwork is remarkably flexible and varied. He often changed his technique, sometimes broad and sweeping other times dappled and sparkling.
Le Grenouillere is a typical example of how much the style of painting had changed. The piece has been painted outdoors using light and bright colours, and is of a fairly ordinary everyday scene. It is a work in which we see his art losing the last of its stiffness and clean cut edge.
The composition concentrates mainly on the foreground .It has three main points of interest, the small rowing boats, the artificial island and the floating barge .It also has a stretch of trees and foliage in the background painted in a much lighter fashion. Monet's painting has a very different composition from Renoir's painting of Grenouillere, which was done at the same time; Renoir's painting is focused
much more on the artificial island and the people on it. Monet uses a combination of thick bold brushstrokes and small short soft brushstrokes; this creates a nice varied look and helps give a good impression of perspective. The tone is also very varied as it is Very light in some areas, but it is also quite dark in others, such as the shades on the barge. The use of dark shades in the foreground makes the boat look so realistic and quite 3D. Although the middle ground is flatter this helps add to the perspective. The water however is what really makes the painting so good.When looked at from just a short distance away it looks really smooth and realistic, but on closer inspection we can see that it is actually made up of short broken brushwork. This is where we can see the painting still holding onto a touch of the more classical style, but is achieved in a much more impressionistic fashion the mood of the painting is quite peaceful and calming, and the relaxed people and light colours give it a happy and uplifting feel. I think that Monet through his painting was trying to capture a typical laid back French scene. He is also trying to break away from the paintings of the past, that were more sombre and didn't show ordinary people and their lives. I really enjoyed studying this painting and feel that Monet has created a piece which has many interesting and intriguing features and touches, such as the light bouncing across the water, and shows what a skilled and talented painter he was.
The Road-Bridge at Argentil painted in 1874 was another of Claude Monet's pieces. It is of a river scene, which has a small sailing boat as its main point of interest. The boat is painted in just a dark shade but this contrasts well with the lighter surroundings. We look on this piece from the riverbank, with the small boat perfectly positioned just slightly to the left, which allows us to have an uninterrupted view of the long bridge with its different shapes and curves. The bridge helps give an impression of perspective and leads your eye onto the house, small boat and riverbank in the background. The brushwork in this painting is very short and broken in all places, however it is much less obvious in the sky and on the shadows. The shadows help make the boat and the bridge look more three-dimensional especially on the bridge where it really adds to the curvature of the arcs. Aside from the dark shadows the painting is done in light, bright colours and once again Monet shows his skill in portraying a nice sunny day by the riverside. He has managed to give the impression of calm rippling water by using rough brushstrokes. He uses a mix of light and darker colours to show the sun glistening across the water. The painting creates a relaxing and the light colours, calm water and slow moving boats create pleasant mood, which I think. I like this painting and I especially like the way in which Monet has created many different areas that show a range